Choosing to be grateful at the end of a rough day.

It’s 10:22 and still, the kids are not all to sleep. My notepad sits here at the desk, a full sheet of things I wanted to complete tonight, waiting to be checked off. We had a rough day. It started at 4 this morning, when one of the kids woke up, decided to wake up another, headed downstairs, and found a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer. Johnny had brought it home the other day in a sweet attempt to say, ‘I see how hard it is, will ice cream help?’ They finished the whole thing before we heard them, realized they were in some serious need of help, ushered them up to bed quietly trying not to wake the other two- one snuggled in with mom, one with dad. It was a long day. We had plans to head out and find the coyote tracks dad heard last night right on the other side of our fence, but we didn’t make it out and that only made our day longer, I know. Johnny was going to go grocery shopping for us tonight, while I worked on all the loose ends; insurance stuff, contacting & replying to folks, finishing up the website….but child after child kept making their way down the stairs needing something….afraid of the windy noises, needing to go potty, struggling to turn off their thoughts, and the baby waking each time another walked down. I was near tears. Ok that’s not true, the tears were definitely happening. Johnny came in and took over and I literally ran to the garage to be alone in the quiet-trying to turn off my own thoughts, mostly a running list of things to do. And did I find silence? No. I heard the van still running in the drive, ready for a trip in to get groceries and as I chanted positive thoughts to myself, You can do this! This list can wait. Take a deep breath and quiet….I heard Johnny on the baby monitor, calmly talking down the sobs in Irie. The storm in her washed out and the swells were replaced with his quiet picking on the mandolin-You Are My Sunshine.
When we were trying to put them all to bed tonight, I was nursing the baby while the others layed down. Only the hall light was streaming into the room. Like I said, it was a long day, we were both ready to be over with bedtime, so as Violet popped off and crawled over to Lilly for a pucker-y kiss, Johnny and I were too lazy to stop the distraction from Bedtime….well, then Hank and Iris sat up, they all started making kissy faces to Violet and soon they were crawling over one another, locking lips, buzzing with ‘awws’, laughter, and squeals of ‘It’s a kissy party!’ I looked to Johnny from across the room of mattresses pushed together, pillows, and blankets heaped in an attempt to somehow make getting them to sleep easier, and said with a tired smile, ‘I guess there are worse problems to have.’
I haven’t been down to see the animals in three days(Johnny has been taking care of them, fear not:), I might not have taken a shower in that long as well, and the two new Spring garden plans, beehive building, seed-picking-out fun I was hoping to nail down are still not checked off the list, but I’m going to choose gratitude. Even though there is a big part of me that wants to whine and complain, wants to be left alone without being touched or talked to for a full day, I’m going to force myself to make the wiser choice. I don’t know if I just sound silly, maybe everyone looks in thinking it’s all easy here-I hope I do not make it look that way! It’s a fine balance for me, I so want to share what we do, what we are passionate about, not because we think ‘Look at us, aren’t we great?’, rather more like ‘Look at us, we struggle just like you.’ And ‘Look at this beautiful growth, all you need do is plant the seeds and give them love. You can do it, too.’
Anyway, I think writing about this all has helped me, also. I’ve heard so many comments from folks I had no idea we were reaching. What a sincerely beautiful thing. So I am grateful tonight for a partner who chooses to turn towards one another in chaos, for take-out pizza when my brain is too overwhelmed to cook, for little kid giggles and stinky baby feet, and you all-for making us feel a sense of community. Even if it’s just one person who reads this, way out here in the countryside of Plymouth, with the cold wind howling and the wood pile waning-it does good to know we’re not alone, it’s feels right to say, you’re not alone. -Amanda Jo

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